How to Manage your Finances in College

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By Claudia Larsen

You’re at your local grocery store buying a refill of the snacks you hoard in your dorm room. After the cashier tells you the total you get ready to pay and you suddenly stop. You don’t have enough money.

Does this sound familiar? Then you’re just one of the many college students in need of a lesson in finance management. Angelica Rolka, a sophomore nursing major at the Mount, said, “Learning to budget was one of the hardest things for me about transitioning to college, but it’s completely worth the struggle.”


Here are some tips and tricks to help you manage your finances:

  1. Your bills and payments come first

You can’t expect to be financially responsible if you aren’t on the ball with your bills. Rolka said that at the beginning of each month she checks her bills and see what’s due, and then she puts aside the money needed for those payments. Putting bills off only leads to them increasing in size or you racking up debt, so always make sure your money goes to them first.

  1. Set a monthly spending limit

Splurging is hard to avoid – we all know that a little too well. In a Teen Vogue article about budgeting, author Mandi Woodruff claims that the best way splurge while having enough money to last you each month is to set a limit for yourself. Compare how much you have/make every month to what you NEED to spend (e.g. gas, groceries, utilities). See what you have left and then set a splurging limit somewhere in that range.

  1. Use your checking and savings accounts

The problem a lot of people have is finding a balance between their checking and their savings accounts. Rolka recommends that your savings stay separate, and your checking becomes your go-to account. “I use my checking [account] for all of my spending. But, I make sure to throw at least $5 into my savings account every once and a while, just to keep it full,” said Rolka.

  1. Save when and where you can

The little things can go a long way, especially when it comes to money. Reducing expenses in any way possible is something that can help you save up in the long run. Lessen your subscriptions, rent your textbooks or find PDFs and learn to coupon and shop on sale. Rolka’s advice is to “be savvy, wait for sales and don’t just buy things just because you want them.”